Fast automatic 3D liver segmentation based on a three-level AdaBoost-guided active shape model




A robust, automatic, and rapid method for liver delineation is urgently needed for the diagnosis and treatment of liver disorders. Until now, the high variability in liver shape, local image artifacts, and the presence of tumors have complicated the development of automatic 3D liver segmentation. In this study, an automatic three-level AdaBoost-guided active shape model (ASM) is proposed for the segmentation of the liver based on enhanced computed tomography images in a robust and fast manner, with an emphasis on the detection of tumors.


The AdaBoost voxel classifier and AdaBoost profile classifier were used to automatically guide three-level active shape modeling. In the first level of model initialization, fast automatic liver segmentation by an AdaBoost voxel classifier method is proposed. A shape model is then initialized by registration with the resulting rough segmentation. In the second level of active shape model fitting, a prior model based on the two-class AdaBoost profile classifier is proposed to identify the optimal surface. In the third level, a deformable simplex mesh with profile probability and curvature constraint as the external force is used to refine the shape fitting result. In total, three registration methods—3D similarity registration, probability atlas B-spline, and their proposed deformable closest point registration—are used to establish shape correspondence.


The proposed method was evaluated using three public challenge datasets: 3Dircadb1, SLIVER07, and Visceral Anatomy3. The results showed that our approach performs with promising efficiency, with an average of 35 s, and accuracy, with an average Dice similarity coefficient (DSC) of 0.94 ± 0.02, 0.96 ± 0.01, and 0.94 ± 0.02 for the 3Dircadb1, SLIVER07, and Anatomy3 training datasets, respectively. The DSC of the SLIVER07 testing and Anatomy3 unseen testing datasets were 0.964 and 0.933, respectively.


The proposed automatic approach achieves robust, accurate, and fast liver segmentation for 3D CTce datasets. The AdaBoost voxel classifier can detect liver area quickly without errors and provides sufficient liver shape information for model initialization. The AdaBoost profile classifier achieves sufficient accuracy and greatly decreases segmentation time. These results show that the proposed segmentation method achieves a level of accuracy comparable to that of state-of-the-art automatic methods based on ASM.